Imagine a world where to hear your favorite song whenever you want, you have to drive to the store (or have your mom drive you), dig through the bins, find your song, take it to the counter, and pay a hippie $1.29. That part of the task finished, you drive home (or your mom drives you home), fire up the family room hi-fi, stick your new record on the platter and drop the needle. There it is–your very own copy of your favorite song–and three to four minutes later you can play it again, and again, and again.
This was the world of the 45 RPM single, the 7-inch record, and man does it sound ancient in the streaming music era. But here’s the thing: As inefficient as that form of music delivery was, when we owned the record we were invested in it. We listened until we knew all of the lyrics. We knew the B-side, too. Some of us memorized what labels published our favorite music, and we became fans of those labels. We paid attention to producers, writers, whatever little shreds of information we could gather from our $1.29 purchase. Buying that record made us part of something.
Anyway, here’s a bunch of Bowie singles that I never play anymore because it’s easier to listen to these songs digitally, but I’m glad that I was a kid during the singles era. If you want to experience what it was like back in the old-timey days, you can pick up any of these for just a couple of bucks. Happy hunting.